Archives for November 12, 2007

Cool Science News

New Fossils, Ancient Candy, and Cute Owls

Roots Coming Home to Roost

Many years ago a couple of researchers (Hatley and Kappleman) suggested omnivory, including eating of roots, to be a common theme in the adaptations we see in bears, humans, and pigs. Some years later, Richard Wrangham and I independently and for different reasons came to the idea that roots are potentially important in human evolution,…

I find it absolutely fascinating that scientists often bother to estimate the effects of diet by feeding controlled quantities of food, especially plant food, to rats to see what happens. For example, there is a common substance in cooked food that, if fed in even modest quantity to rats, causes the rats to get cancer…

Operating System Choices

Can we afford not to give our kids Linux? For any parent, myself included, setting your kids loose on the net is a daunting prospect. We have to do it because the net is a fact of life – it’s in our schools, the workplace, public libraries and in many if not most homes of…

When Geeks Don’t Have Enough To Do

I was very interested in reading an on line article comparing two Linux distributions, Ubuntu (the one I use) and Fedora (a very different distribution that I used to use). Hey, any article with a sexy title like “Ubuntu 7.10 & Fedora 8 Performance Compared” is not going to fail to get your interest, right?…

They tried bribery, they tried bullying. And both worked. But only for a little while…. Mandriva had closed a deal in mid-August to provide a customised Linux operating system and support for 17,000 Intel Classmate PCs intended for Nigerian schools, but found out last week that the company deploying the computers for the government, Technology…

The Robots. They’re here….

FUDAN University has invented an intelligent robot with a child-like ability to learn new things by following human voice commands. The robot, which is on display at the ongoing Shanghai International Industry Fair, is a man-shaped multi-functional machine with a small electronic screen “face,” a big square screen in the “chest” and two big wheels…

Tuesday, November 13th. Judgement Day

“Evolution is the central organizing principle of all biological science, yet teaching evolution has become controversial in many states. When the National Science Teachers Association recently surveyed its members, 30 percent said they experienced pressure to omit or downplay evolution and related topics in their science curriculum. What would you do if someone objected to…

Framing the Language Gene: FOXP2

You can now read the Krause et al (2007) paper from Current Biology regarding the FOXP2 variant found in Neanderthals in an open-access on-line form at Current Biology Online. Here is the summary of the article: Although many animals communicate vocally, no extant creature rivals modern humans in language ability. Therefore, knowing when and under…

Using Science to Frame Quackery?

Things to notice in this video: The scientific sounding languge. The cool 3D graphics The guy bloating up because he has not eaten his SKRMs yet. Then he eats the SKRMs and gets better.